Updated: Jul 26
Divinely Inspired is designed to introduce you to my favorite creative people in the spiritual and metaphysical community and industry. As you may already know, I strongly believe that we are most in-tune with the Divine (Spirit, All, Universe, God, etc) when we are in the active state of creating, just like children at play. Unfortunately with the rise in popularity and commercialism in all things metaphysical and spiritual, now compounded by the use of artificial intelligence (AI), there is a lot of “stuff” out there that is just that, stuff that lacks any genuine Divine inspiration. My solution? Every so often, I will bring you one amazing creator whose work I believe to be Divinely inspired along with where you can find them in hopes that you follow their journey and gain inspiration for your own creative outlets. We all have the ability to create masterpieces and connect with Source while doing it, let them show you how.
Here’s one to throw you for a loop, Rose and Juno are also Amy. Amy will explain who Rose and Juno are shortly hereafter, but in the meantime, I will refer to her as Amy since that is who I’ve had the privilege to come to call a friend. I met Amy in 2022 at The International Divination Event (TIDE) in Dallas, TX. I had never been to a conference before and I didn’t know anyone, yet there I was in a room full of some of the top names in the spiritual and metaphysical field. It was the first day of the conference and the Keynote Speakers were on the day’s lineup. I walked in and in good law enforcement fashion, parked myself at the last row of tables nearest the door. To my right was this fascinating woman dressed in flowing garments with bright blue eyes and a subtle demeanor and poise I suspected was indicative of a fellow Ceremonial Magician. We exchanged hellos, but it was at the moment that Amy realized that I was the one teaching Tarot for Criminal Investigation that the spark was ignited. We talked about my work as Crime and Intel Analyst and what I want to do in forging an alliance between professional psychics and law enforcement. Amy then more formally introduced herself as the Strategic Marketer and a Talent Acquisition for Schiffer RedFeather Publishing and said she would love to talk to me about writing a book. I smiled and told her that I had just found a red cardinal feather on my morning hike the day before departing for the conference. It was during the course of this conversation that Amy gave me some of the truest words of wisdom I have heard to date, “not everyone here is your friend”. I knew exactly to what she had been referring to and it was at this moment that I was certain I had found one of MY people. Amy, Mitchell Osborn (sat to my left) and I spent the weekend having meals together and getting to know one another, and a year later I am incredibly grateful to call this amazingly kind, intelligent, creative, and quick witted woman a friend. Without further ado, the amazing Rose & Juno.
Rose & Juno Short Bio:
Two roads into the woods of truth diverged to create novelist Rose Guildenstern and cartomancer Juno Lucina: Rose & Juno.
As Rose, I write disturbing metaphysical fiction teetering on the edge between eerie and enlightening that inspires us to craft lives worth living...together. Why the pen name "Rose Guildenstern," you ask? Rose as in Juliet's immortalized line, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," of course, but even more a reference to Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, about the most inconsequential characters in Shakespeare's own Hamlet; for it is not my name or identity that matters a whit, but only the meaning and the work itself that is remotely worthy of note. My debut novel, Iago’s Penumbra, is a modern treatise on love and the darkness that redeems us, rooted in the works of Shakespeare—with a little philosophy, the occult, and cosmic horror thrown in, just for fun. (Available in eBook, audiobook, and deluxe softcover formats everywhere books are sold!)
For truth via cartomancy, Juno Lucina is my nom de guerre as author of the award-winning Kingdom Within Tarot deck, The Alchemy of Tarot book, and The Healing Tarot deck (all published by Schiffer/ REDFeather) as well as an all-new oracle deck coming in 2024 entitled Frame This Oracle with illustrator Dan Goodfellow. I chose the pen name Juno Lucina in honor of Juno Lucina from Roman mythology, the mother goddess who first opens a newborn's eyes to the light.
Whether you prefer to find your truth in stories or in the cards, pick the persona you prefer.
Did you produce art or creative works prior to producing spiritual or metaphysical inspired pieces? If so, what did you do or do you still do?
I have always created to explore the larger questions in life. Before my first “official” spiritual publications fourteen years ago, however, I wrote hundreds of short stories, some one-act plays, and even penned a short run poetry book (to give you an idea of just how long ago, this book was already out of print before Amazon even existed). Poetry was my initial creative passion, both the reading and writing of it. The first poem I wrote was in the third grade, entitled “Playin’ With Reality”:
What you tell me
—if I believe it—
(even though you’re lying)
Becomes a type of reality.
For I truly believe it
(even though you know it to be false)
And I will act upon it
as though it were true.
And if I tell another
—as so often is the case in these matters—
They will believe it
—for I am being honest in the telling—
And there you have a lie
made into reality.
Playin’ with reality can be dangerous!
What was your first spiritual or metaphysical creation, and what inspired you to create it?
Although I read tarot professionally at my local metaphysical bookstore for a time, as much as I loved helping people see the truth of their lives with the wisdom of the cards, I became increasingly frustrated by my clients’ tendency to grow ever more dependent upon me to help them interpret the cards and make decisions about their own lives rather than transition to reading for themselves and using tarot for their own spiritual unfolding. I am a teacher by nature, and although spiritual teachers are helpful on the way to awakening, it is essential that we journey beyond dependence upon others for our own spiritual development. Yet, as I looked around at the books and decks available at the time (this was almost twenty years ago), it became evident to me that there was a gaping hole in the spiritual marketplace for a deck and book for people who did not have the time or inclination to spend years investing in study and developing their psychic gifts. I decided to create a tarot deck and comprehensive tarot book to fill this gap.
I spent years writing the book, which was ultimately so long that my publisher prudently decided to publish it as a standalone coffee-table collector’s tome, The Alchemy of Tarot: Practical Enlightenment through the Astrology, Qabalah, and Archetypes of Tarot. With a foreword graciously written by Lon Milo DuQuette, my goal in writing The Alchemy of Tarot was to bring together everything I’d read and learned and experienced and practiced in one place, so that others wouldn’t have to. The Alchemy of Tarot is an advanced primer in tarot for those who wish to take their tarot practice beyond divination.
During this process, I also collaborated with the artist Shannon ThornFeather for almost two years to create a new tarot deck. As I wrote the book and told her what I envisioned for the images on each card, she took my long and involved descriptions and manifested the artwork. It was Mary Greer and Rachel Pollack who helped the two of us choose a name for our new creation — The Kingdom Within Tarot — a deck meant to be taken straight out of the box and read effortlessly, no prior experience necessary. The guidebook that accompanies the deck itself is simple, straightforward, clear, and delivers precise divinatory readings for all levels of reader, including how to interpret reversals, “yes or no” questions, and questions of time. The Kingdom Within Tarot was released in 2011 and awarded both Outstanding Art on a Tarot Deck as well as One to Watch Female Illustrator in the Pecto Awards by the Academy of Cartomancy Arts & Sciences, what eventually became today’s CARTA awards.
What theme do you favor or do you find inspires you the most in your creations and why?
Every story or book or cartomancy deck or poem I’ve written answers an essential question, a burning need that I perceive in those I meet and the broader culture that I haven’t seen addressed yet by other authors or artists or thinkers or creators around me:
I created The Kingdom Within Tarot deck so that anyone, with no prior experience or psychic awareness, can read tarot for themselves right out of the box.
I wrote The Alchemy of Tarot to bring together everything I’ve learned about the subject of tarot so that the intermediate or advanced student might have one place to go to dive as deeply as they’d like into the subject and move beyond using the tarot for divination and into personal spiritual growth.
I penned The Healing Tarot: 78 Ways to Wellness so people can do their own health and wellness readings based on the wisdom of medical astrology merged with tarot, as well as to present a tarot-based philosophical study of healing itself.
But my first novel, Iago’s Penumbra, was prompted by something quite different. Fundamental life questions I saw those around me asking again and again, often out of their own suffering and desperation…
What happens after we die? Why do we die? Why do things end?
What is this force called love that seems to rule almost every aspect of life? Why is it so powerful? How can it simultaneously seem as though it’s both the greatest and worst thing to ever happen to us?
What does it mean to be human? Can we lose our humanity? How can one human being treat another human being as though they are less than human?
Out of these essential questions and my personal love of the works of William Shakespeare arose the impetus for my metaphysical novel, Iago’s Penumbra.
Do you research or spend any amount of time planning before you start working on a piece, or do you just let it flow following more of your intuitive process?
I am a prodigious planner. Everything is outlined, researched, and detailed before I begin, and I often spend months organizing before I put pen to paper. However, once I start, I write in the flow, every day, whether I want to or not. Nevertheless, for all my preparation, if something changes when I’m in the flow-state, I just go with it. I view myself as immaterial in the transaction: I am more a frame or channel for the work to come into being.
Some artists or creators work best during certain times of the day or evening, do you have a preference or notice any difference when it comes to your inspiration?
I rise early and do my best writing all morning. Early afternoons are for movement, spiritual practice, obligations, and adventure. Early evening is family and communal time. Nights are for inspiration, exploration, and dreaming of what might be.
Do you follow astrological activity or even just simply lunar signs and phases for your creative process?
Although I write about the celestial bodies and their travels, I don’t write by them. They inform my work rather than controlling it. I view astrology as the study of the rhythms, patterns, and continual changes of our solar system as they affect us rather than a sacred contract. The study of astrology can help us move beyond astrologically influenced limitations while broadening our understanding of existence, and astrological tarot assists readers to see the impulsions, cycles, and trends of which they may not be aware.
Do you have any special energy or spiritual practices that you do before, during, or after your creative sessions?
Before writing, I draw one card to focus (or more if there’s a particular writing question niggling me) and meditate. I always keep a deck by me while writing to pull cards if I hit a rough spot or need further insight. When I’m finished with my daily writing session, I symbolically close both my laptop and eyes, giving thanks as I place the cards I’ve pulled throughout my morning upon my altar; throughout the day I’ll often stop and consider or meditate further upon these cards as spirit moves me, sometimes writing in a journal I keep expressly for this purpose. If I hit a creative block, I change my writing environment, often journeying to the local woods for a fresh perspective. I also frequently consult The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life by Jessa Crispin to enhance my writing card draws.
Do you feel a greater connection to the universe, spirit, God, all, etc. through being a creator or artist?
The human experience is one of creation, and I do not view myself as any more or less creative than anyone else. I wouldn’t say I feel a greater connection through my identity as creator or artist, for our identities are what we’ve decided we are as opposed to what we’ve decided we are not. Life is a creative act, and so we create—or perhaps we create, therefore we are.
What is your favorite creation or piece to date and why?
My novel, Iago’s Penumbra, is my favorite creation because it utilizes story, metaphor, and artistry to viscerally communicate difficult yet vital philosophical and spiritual truths as well as represents the culmination of all I’ve learned honing my writing skills thus far in this lifetime.
Why did you decide to write metaphysical fiction in addition to your cartomancy publications?
Our present world is undergoing a threshold moment: a time of transition. Spurred by the world’s response to the pandemic, the shell of the egg is cracking, and a new way of perceiving life is emerging. If modern scholarship and the events since the pandemic have shown us anything, it is that we are creatures of story who seek mythical meaning before we are minds who believe what our scientific studies or logic suggest. As a result, we long to merge the adventure of living with transcendent discovery, combining a truly compelling story with a message that gives our lives meaning.
Metaphysical (which literally means “after the physical”) refers to occurrences that we may be able to subjectively experience or sense but cannot objectively measure or explain. Metaphysical fiction explores topics like consciousness expansion, past lives, mysticism, the occult, and parapsychology. These visionary novels essentially have two components integral to the story itself: a philosophical exploration of the nature of reality and a non-corporeal, ineffable or supranatural element, as in characters or events that transcend the natural.
This genre is growing because there is an urgent need in the world for a fiction category that helps readers explore spiritual ideas and concepts not just rationally—as one might through a non-fiction book—but emotionally and experientially. In a metaphysical visionary novel, you don’t simply learn about deeper spiritual truths, but you feel them unfolding through the power of story on a gut level, experiencing them vicariously through the eyes of an engaging cast of characters from the safety of your own armchair so that you can apply them to your life as you wish.
You might pick up a non-fiction book or cartomancy deck to understand, but it is our fiction that changes us. Our movies, our television, and our books. It is our stories that we inhabit, that entertain us, that become a part of us—for our stories reveal who we are, what we believe, and what we imagine to be, and the genre of Metaphysical Visionary Fiction answers this quest for the profound.
What advice would you give to those that say that they are not creative or artistic, and it’s just not in their capabilities?
If you can imagine, if you can cook a meal, if you can plant a seed, if you can fall in love, if you can dream, you are creative. All we humans are creators by nature. The struggle to create does not come from inability, it comes from lack of passion to create, often because we have been discouraged and become hopeless along the way. Lack of passion is a justification we adopt to excuse our withdrawal from our creative birthright. Consider using cartomancy and/or other spiritual practice to rediscover the creative spark that is your essence, and let this discovery spur your own creative urge to make something, anything. Leave your ordinary spaces, put yourself in new environments and circumstances to inspire creative change within yourself. Stop allowing the edge of the cliff to restrict your inner creator and embrace the Fool’s leap.
What do you like most about being a creator in the spiritual or metaphysical community?
Members of the spiritual or metaphysical community are by and large more honest with themselves about themselves, more encouraging and supportive of fellow creators, and give more because they are consciously on a spiritual path of awakening. I’ve made some lifelong friends, too!
What do you hope your work will bring to the world as a whole, particularly those in the spiritual community or on a personal spiritual journey?
Everything I create is a tool for discovering truth, not because it cloaks itself in mystery, but because we spirits having a human experience often choose to mystify what is true. There is no need to seek outside oneself for truth, for playing the game of the search for truth is really a game of hide and seek with oneself. Whether we seek outside or inside, we are the truth, we are surrounded by the truth, and we encounter the truth every day. In our modern world, information is readily available—from so-called “experts,” to our education system, to the media, to the Internet, to bookstores and public libraries—if we want to know about something, the opportunity exists to find out. But to know about something is crucially different than to know it. Humanity knows about a plethora of subjects. Our heads are filled with facts, half-truths, and other people’s truths. We know all about the truth, but we are still lost because we still do not know it. We do not recognize it. We do not see it. The real question we must ask is, “Why don’t I see the truth?” Or perhaps more accurately, “Why did I make the decision to stop seeing?” This is why I create: to provide divergent metaphysical tools to help us see what is more clearly.
What is your ultimate personal or professional goal as a creator or artist?
I’m not a particularly goal or end-oriented person. I think more in terms of direction or trajectory. My direction (as in pointing or directing) is toward the truth, and my trajectory (as in the path of a body as it travels through space) is expansion.
Do you have an opinion about the advent of AI art?
My current metaphysical novel-in-process takes place in one possible dystopian future wherein the USA has split into two nations, each society centered around a very different AI technology from the other. As a result, I’m deeply immersed in researching the current scientific literature about artificial intelligence. It seems to me that the critical questions surrounding AI aren’t solely centered around our visual arts, but also AI in our writing, our businesses, our marketplace, our media, our politics, and even more crucially the creation of our thoughts and social mores themselves. Much like the industrial revolution, AI technology poses an identity crisis for the entire human race, not just artists. In its present stage, AI is a potential tool—much as the Internet, the steam engine, the power loom, and the printing press once were—that is and will continue to make obsolete certain aspects of our society to develop heretofore-thought impossible opportunities for human achievement.
BUT: AI contains the potent seeds of humanity’s downfall within it, because of the more harmful manifestations of how we might choose to utilize it, its potential to manipulate perception and “deep learning” reality (for we humans as a species haven’t evolved as quickly as our technological advances with AI), and the already-in-process influence of AI on our thought forms and groupthink. (The term "groupthink" was coined by William H. White, Jr. in 1952, derived from the word, "doublethink" from George Orwell's novel, 1984.) Groupthink suggests "a deterioration in mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgments as a result of group pressures." Sounds chillingly familiar, doesn’t it? The problem is not the AI tool itself but how humanity uses such tools to control, pervert, suppress, deceive, and even destroy its members and, ultimately, itself.
While researching my novel, I experimented with many AI programs and used AI as one of the tools at my disposal to craft the Iago’s Penumbra Tarot, a 22-card tarot deck that features the characters, main environments, and literary themes of the novel as they correlate to the Major Arcana. However, I decided to sell the deck at my own cost merely as an added perk for readers of Iago's Penumbra: A Metaphysical novel precisely because of this current raging debate about AI in art creation, not because of my personal beliefs but out of respect for our collective AI identity crisis.
Want to connect with Rose & Juno and follow her magical work?
The best place to connect and find all of her links in one place: https://linktr.ee/rosieguildie
(all go to the same website)
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RoseandJuno (place to purchase Iago’s Penumbra Tarot, limited editions of her books, and discounted bundles)
A HUGE thank you to Amy for taking the time out of her busy life to share her creative wisdom with us, even in the midst of moving and starting a new adventure!
Copyright 2023 © Brandy Rachelle
Uncredited images from my personal collection or stock images